Australia wants to upgrade strategic ties with Vietnam

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had a phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Australia wishes to elevate its relationship with Vietnam to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a phone call with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh on May 25.

The head of the Australian Government highly appreciated Vietnam’s recent results in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, socio-economic development, and foreign affairs, according to Vietnam’s state-controlled media. Prime Minister Morrison was quoted as affirming that he attaches importance to further promoting the Vietnam-Australia Strategic Partnership and wishes to upgrade it to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

In response, PM Chinh affirmed his willingness to work closely with Prime Minister Morrison in developing the Strategic Partnership in an increasingly effective, extensive, and substantive manner, according to the Voice of Vietnam Radio (VOV).

Mr. Chinh suggested the Australian government continue to provide technical support and further open the market for Vietnamese agricultural and aquatic products, as well as encourage large Australian enterprises to increase investment in the East Asian nation, according to Thanh Nien. The Vietnamese PM also called on Australia to support ODA (foreign direct investment) and human resource training as well as promote cooperation in military medicine and support the peacekeeping force of Vietnam.

Also during the meeting on May 25, the two leaders of Vietnam and Australia agreed to strive to increase investment, two-way trade, and sustainable recovery after the pandemic, according to Thanh Nien.

The two government leaders also discussed the East Sea (South China Sea) issue when affirming the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, as well as agreeing to settle disputes peacefully based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to Tuoi Tre.

Vietnam and Australia have recently tightened ties in many aspects, including maritime security, in the context that both countries have common interests in the East Sea in the face of an ever-expanding China’s claims sovereignty over disputed waters. Vietnam is one of the few countries invited to the Quartet meetings, in which Australia allies with the US, Japan, and India to counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region.

Mr. Chinh thanked the Australian Prime Minister for pledging to provide Vietnam with AUD40 million to access the COVID-19 vaccine and suggested that the Australian government give priority to Vietnam’s access to Australia-made vaccine AstraZeneca. (Translated)